The Continuing Leppertness of Mayor Mike Rawlings

Even his opponents say Rawlings is a good guy. Why is that exactly?

It was a knife in the backs of the students. They thought the city council chamber was the place where this matter would be decided. That's why they were there. They didn't understand that an accommodation had already been reached with the pastor, Stephen Nash, whose church, Mount Tabor Baptist, is right next to their college. Nash rose at the council meeting and spoke in favor of bringing more garbage to his neighborhood. I have attempted to reach Nash about these matters. He did not return my calls.

Rawlings told me later, after I wrote about it, that none of the funds will flow directly to any pastors. Fine. But after hearing exactly the opposite at the meeting where the vote took place, I nevertheless feel confident that somehow, through the elaborately terraced rice paddies of life, water will find its level. Maybe that's just me.

I have to say that some of the people I talked to at City Hall for this column were in my camp. They agreed with me that Rawlings' personality may be unlike Leppert's — he's much more hail-fellow — but the outcomes are the same. Those outcomes have a lot to do with culture, and for illustration they point to the debate over city council redistricting.

The people who got screwed on the city council redistricting deal that Rawlings hammered out in a last-minute backroom session were the residents of the politically active neighborhoods in North Oak Cliff. Their part of town got chopped up to make for safer districts for incumbents south and east. Those are the only incumbents who need protection. All incumbents in the north are safe, always.

I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings in the North Oak Cliff neighborhoods that got chopped up, but they are referred to behind their backs at City Hall as "The Banshees." Nobody else wants the banshees in their district, at least not all of them, because they do all kinds of stuff that makes trouble. Like voting. They vote way too much. They have these incredibly high voter turnouts when everybody else south of the river has the decency to just let the old people in the nursing homes do the voting.

Neighborhood involvement: always in the way. Citizen activism: Oh, that's a toothache. And they're always innovating, coming up with all these embarrassing ways to make better streets and stuff. Banshees! Trouble.

In the redistricting stuff, the banshees of North Oak Cliff got the same knife in the back that students from Paul Quinn got. The deal was done behind closed doors with Rawlings leading the way, and it was the same old paradigm we have seen for decades in Dallas — the conservative status quo separationists of North Dallas joining hands with the conservative separationists of South Dallas to put the knife in the back of anybody of any ethnicity who wants to change the paradigm.

In this case the people with knives sticking out of their backs were Anglo and Hispanic. In the Paul Quinn case they were young and black. Same paradigm, same knife.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, a very interesting challenge to the old paradigm will take place: a march from Founders Park in Oak Cliff across the river to Ferris Plaza in front of The Dallas Morning News, led by the Paul Quinn students. They say they will be joined by a broad coalition of Latinos, Democrats and some of the city's most influential younger black clergy. I believe a certain number of city council members will take part.

This march will draw a certain line in the sand. Those people including members of the city council who want to give Rawlings the benefit of the doubt will have to make up their minds. How much doubt? How much benefit?

I have spoken to Sorrell about this march at some length. He does not characterize it as a march to confront Rawlings, but he does say it is a march against the old paradigm. The marchers will ask that both backroom deals be undone, the garbage thing and redistricting. They want a new approach in which activist committed citizens are at the table and given respect, not shunted aside and called banshees.

The people who want to give Rawlings more time say that there are outcomes I don't see, things that happen away from the cameras and the hoopla. They tell me it may look to me on the outside that everything has already been precooked but back in the political kitchen where they do the actual cooking, he's a straight-up guy.

Maybe. Or maybe they need to get out of the kitchen.

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13 comments
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Its So Sad
Its So Sad

WTF!!?

THE MAYOR OPENLY DESCRIBES THE MONEY DEAL WITH THE BLACK PASTORS? THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS! THESE DEALS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE SECRET SO THE STUPID IDIOT BLACK SHEEP CAN PRETEND THAT THEIR PASTOR IS ON THEIR SIDE AGAINST WHITEY.

What is this world coming to? I expect John Wiley to get a pat on the back from the FBI any day now.

We're ALL going to hell!!!!!!!!!!!

jfpo
jfpo

Rest of nation, please take note and keep former pizza chain CEOs out public leadership positions.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

I hope Paul Quinn and N Oak Cliff get together and show the council the kind of voter registration and voting campaign banshees can put together. A little shoe leather and some decent candidates might be able to roll over the S Dallas voting machine despite the gerrymandering.

mynameisURL
mynameisURL

Mayor Mike is nice!

I've always liked a fella' that can tell you to "go piss up a rope" with a smile on his face.

I'll bet the idea of "Mayor Kunkle" scared the sheeeeit out of a lot of the money-folk in Dallas...

Sittin_here
Sittin_here

I want to know what is a surprise. Dallas has been ran the same way since the beginning

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

The city refers to those in North Oak Cliff who are active in city affairs as “banshees”. Wow! Some how this does not surprise me as I have gathered from past experience the last thing any city council member wants is to hear from those who elected them and who they should be accountable to. And just remember the city wants more of your tax dollars in the form a NEW 2012 bond proposal (and the higher taxes that go with that (that they will not tell you about up front)) so they can fund their un accountable spending.

Perry More
Perry More

I've never actually been invited into the kitchen, but I hear that if we complain, the mayor spits in our food.

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

The mayor and the council learned yesterday at SMU that all bullshit starts at the top and then runs down hill. Gee, I could have told them that for free. But, we move on, and we gather to march on Saturday.

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

It's the unbearable Leppert-ness of being Dallas mayor.

Sunset71
Sunset71

Well, a march from North Oak Cliff protesting Rawlings' redistricting plan makes perfect sense.In fact, it's an inspired idea.

Jim Schutze
Jim Schutze

I have a given a wrong impression here about the goals of Saturday's march. I wrote: "The marchers will ask that both backroom deals be undone, the garbage thing and redistricting." Actually the march does not have as a specific goal the unwinding of the redistricting matter. President Sorrell tells me the goal of the march is more broadly to bring the city's business out of the back room and also to encourage the mayor and council to approach issues in all parts of the city with the same standards for desirable outcomes. I don't know what my excuse is for conflating the redistricting thing with the march. I am working on one, and I will keep you advised of my progress. Meanwhile, I was just wrong.

Politico
Politico

What is being differentiated between Rawlings and Leppert is simple. A different way (processes) of getting to the same ACTIONS. Actions speak louder than words!!! So guess what, Leppert and Rawlings ARE THE SAME. Rawlings needs to learn one philosophy to guide his Mayoral tenure, "ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS." He needs to get that philosophy put on the wall overlooking the horseshoe and his office. If he follows that philosophy, he will be able to look back at his actions and quickly determine if he was a complete failure or a success as Mayor. Please stop all the Bullshit Talk Mayor!!!

RTR
RTR

Yeah, I could really give a fuck if Mayor Mike is really "Nice" about committing his unethical deeds. Actually, I would prefer a "vindictive" Leppert, because I would know what I was dealing with, and plan accordingly.

 
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